Afghan surge is new challenge for US forces exiting Iraq
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Last Updated: Wednesday, December 02, 2009, 19:28
Joint Base Balad (Iraq): The US military in Iraq faces a logistical challenge in maintaining its combat effectiveness while giving the maximum possible support to soldiers fighting "Obama's war" in Afghanistan.

There are currently 115,000 American soldiers in Iraq -- a force that dwarfs the 71,000 in Afghanistan -- but the security situation remains volatile.

US commanders in Iraq are also grappling with a political stalemate that has thrown a general election originally planned for mid-January into chaos, further complicating the military's plans for a smooth exit of around 65,000 troops by late August and a total withdrawal by the end of 2011.

President Barack Obama's decision to send 30,000 extra troops to Afghanistan comes amid the early stages of a colossal operation to catalogue and ship out millions of items of kit amassed by US forces in more than six years of war.

The equipment ranges from Humvee and MRAP fighting vehicles and ammunition to more mundane items such as furniture and office supplies.

Hardware, along with troops, have already made their way to Afghanistan to help the US war effort, but logistics officers in Iraq say Obama's "surge" cannot be viewed in isolation.


First Published: Wednesday, December 02, 2009, 19:28

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